The internet has seen several pictures that have fascinating and tragic tales to tell. I stumbled upon a few that have left an imprint on my mind since childhood as I saw them somewhere while turning pages of magazines, reading books or in newspapers.
The town where everyone carries a mask
This picture talks about the life in Miyakejima, Japan, where an active volcano emitted poisonous gas for about 20 years. The inhabitants did not give in and decided to wear gas masks throughout in order to stay on the island.
Miyake-jima or Miyake Island is an inhabited volcanic island in the Izu archipelago in the Philippine Sea in Japan. The residents of the island are required to carry gas masks with them at all times, but they do not need to be worn constantly. In case there is a dramatic rise in the levels of toxic gases, alarms go off and people are required to put on their masks. Volcanic gas emissions from this volcano are measured by a Multi-Component Gas Analyzer System improving prediction of volcanic activity.
Afghanistan in 1960s
Barren patches, a life enveloped in fear and subdue is what comes to our minds when we think of Afghanistan. It wasn’t so in 1960s. There were short skirts, swanky sunglasses, tinted lips, nice cars and an abundant lifestyle in Afghanistan but it followed the footsteps of Iran. I had Irani students with me in College in Pune and I remember them as one of the ‘coolest lots’. They loved music, getting dressed up and loved all good things in life but did not want to go back because their country looks different from what it was.
The above picture is taken by American university professor Dr. Bill Podlich, who in 1967 opted to work for UNESCO in Afghanistan.
It was a decade later that the Soviets invaded and pulled the once peaceful country into war and I abhor them for this because this led to Taliban rule and the US invasion in 2001. It is distressing to see what human beings turn things into because all they need is power and little do we realize that nothing that we have today will go along when we die except our deeds and doings.
Text books taught us that the Earth is round and yes it is, I am not questioning it but Nullarbor plain’s aerial view will change that way you look at the globe. Located on the Great Australian Bight in Southern Australia, is the gigantic, undistinguished Nullarbor Plain. It looks like the end of Earth. This site is the world’s largest single piece of limestone, covering an area of 270,000 square km and extending some 1,000 km from the east to the west.
Imagine yourself in a train and the train runs across a surface in an absolute straight line for about 483 kilometers; that is Nullarbor plain for you. The plain also has places where underground caves or sinkholes have collapsed to form dents in the surface.
The man who refused to salute Hitler
August Landmesser, popularly known as the man who refused to salute Hitler. Landmesser was born on May 24, 1910. He was a worker at a shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. The reason why he refused to perform the Nazi salute is rather sad. He was into a relationship with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman. Eckler was sent to a concentration camp where it is presumed that she was killed. We all are aware of the atrocities carried out on the Jews by Germans. The Landmesser-Eckler love story was a victim of the dreadful Holocaust.
In 1937, Landmesser and Eckler tried to flee to Denmark but were apprehended. This was the year when she was again pregnant. He on the other side was found guilty in July 1937 of “dishonoring the race” under Nazi racial laws. If history is to be believed, then Eckler was taken to the Bernburg Euthanasia Centre in February 1942, where she was killed. They together gave birth to two daughters, who had nothing much to look upto and all thanks to the Holocaust.
The Haunted Hotel in Colombia
There are several hotels and resorts that are haunted but this one in particular comes with a breathtaking view of a 157 metre waterfall. Tequendama Falls (or Salto del Tequendama) is a major tourist attraction about 30 km (19 miles) southwest of Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia. It is thronged by many tourists and once upon a time, this hotel served the elite, who came to visit the waterfall.
The luxurious Hotel del Salto, which was opened in 1928, was abandoned in the early 90s after the river got contaminated. This place has stood witness to the many, who have used it to commit suicide since then.
Hotel del Salto now stands as a museum of biodiversity and culture. It sure has many tales to tell and many lives to narrate, only if it could speak.
One of my favorites, Marilyn Monroe is one of the most talked about celebrities the world saw. She was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, in Los Angeles California. Her mother, Gladys, was abandoned by her lover after she got pregnant. Gladys was mentally unstable and was unable to care for Norma, so she was placed with foster parents. Marilyn or Norma married James Dougherty at the age of 16. Dougherty joined the military and she worked at a defence plant. She pursued modeling alongside.
Her penchant for acting made her take up a course in acting when she met Ben Lyon, an executive at 20th Century Fox. Through him, she got her first role from Darryl F. Zanuck, who named her Marilyn Monroe. She divorced Dougherty and pursued a full-time course in acting.
In 1948 she was signed by Columbia Pictures and appeared in several minor pictures. She became a star in 1953. In 1954 she married baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. Her marriage however lasted less than a year because she preferred acting over her husband, who did not like her to act and felt insecure.
It was in 1955 when this particular picture was taken when she appeared with Tom Ewell in Billy Wilder’s comedy The Seven Year Itch. She continued to act and finally married the love of her life, who mentioned in his diary that Marilyn often embarrassed him infront of his friends as she was not as smart as he thought her to be. This left her devastated and made her resort to alcohol and like substance.
Finally, after years, she appeared in public and sang birthday song for President Kennedy. Three months after Marilyn sang the birthday song, she died. She was discovered by her housekeeper on August 5, 1962, in her Brentwood home, the victim of an overdose of barbiturates. Many believe that her link with the Kennedy family caused her death as she either committed suicide or was killed.